The role of a county constable is steeped in history. They are among the earliest recorded police officers and an elite part of the oldest law enforcement position in county government. Today, Texas has more than 750 constables elected to serve four-year terms.
Montgomery County Precinct 3 Constable Tim Holifield was sworn in Jan. 1, 1997. Now, after 16 years of service, the 45-year-old will call it a day when his term expires Dec. 31, 2012.
"I've always had a badge," Holifield said, "so it's going to be a very difficult moment the last time I walk out that door."
Holifield's retirement from police work doesn't mean the end of his presence in Montgomery County. For the last six years, in addition to his duties as constable, he has served as administrator in charge of the Montgomery County Animal Shelter.
Now that the county has voted to privatize management of the shelter, Holifield and his wife, Amy, an oncology nurse in The Woodlands, will be taking over.
Apart from overseeing the welfare of four-legged critters, Holifield is looking forward to spending more time with his two-legged family. He and Amy have two young sons together, and Amy has two older sons from a previous marriage.
Holifield himself comes from "humble" beginnings in Point Blank, Texas, a small town in San Jacinto County.
As a child, he dreamed of three things. "Land, horses and cows," he said. "Being a rancher was my number one choice."
The notion of working in law enforcement did not enter his mind until high school, when then-Constable Lacy Rogers told Holifield that he had the mentality to be a police officer. Rogers sponsored Holifield's training in Lufkin.
Holifield's path led him to Montgomery County in 1990, where he helped Conroe ISD launch DARE, an anti-drug education program. A couple of years later, Holifield joined the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, where he was assigned to The Woodlands division. In 1996, he ran for Precinct 3 Constable.
"I was just a detective working in auto theft at the time," Holifield said. "I was incredibly fortunate to be elected."
Another contender for the job was Charles Lowrie, a man who went on to work with Holifield instead of against him as a captain in Precinct 3, a man Holifield holds in high esteem.
Holifield was sworn in at a time when only a handful of employees staffed the constable's office. Today, the department has a staff of more than 50.
Much has changed, but sometimes change is good, Holifield said, even if that means it is time to move on.
"To realize that I will be giving the responsibility of constable to another person kind of makes me sad," Holifield said. "Yet at the same time, I know I will have full faith and confidence in whoever is elected."
At a glance
- Leader of mission trips to Honduras after Hurricane Mitch devastated villages in 1998
- Voted a 2001 Woodlands Hometown Hero
- Has served on several community boards including The Woodlands Rotary Club and South Montgomery County YMCA